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Saturday, July 9, 2016

Summer Gaming Slowdown - It's an Annual Event


Every year my gaming group has trouble getting together on a regular basis during the summer months, and every year we forget the previous year's problems. And this is will a group that play's via Roll20. I can only imagine the problems one has getting a face to face to face group together

It's like Groundhog Day, the movie, without Bill Murray's character suddenly becoming redeemable ;)

I remembered this year. I warned them. They didn't listen. Ah well. Now I am at risk for Karaoke Night at the local pub. I've found a way to hold that off for the last 4 1/2 years of marriage...

Anyhow, it looks like I'll be playtesting the Swords & Wizardry: Light rules on Fridays and / or Saturday nights starting later in the month or early August. I hope to have the 4 pages mostly rewritten by the end of next week along with sneaking the Thief class into it.

Playtesting is a good for summer months, as you don't need a steady group, just volunteers that are willing to spend a few hours testing to see if anything is broken and hopefully have a good time doing so.

I'll put the initial call out to my current two groups, then expand it to members of The Tavern's online community. Once the rules get tightened, I'd probably want to find 2 or 3 DMs to run sessions with the rules to get other eyes behind the screen, so to speak.

Anyhow, no game tonight, so it's either TV time with Rach of Karaoke at the pub. I vote for the TV ;)


Deal of the Day - 5e Creature Decks (Inkwell Designs)



and we're back to posting RPG related posts ;)

Today's Deal of the Day at RPGNow is +Joe Wetzel / Inkwell Designs 5e Creature Decks. Normally $5.95 in PDF, the decks are on sale for $2.97 in PDF for 24 hrs.

I do say decks, because although just one deck is technically the Deal of the Day Joe has discounted the rest of the 5e Creature Decks.

Oh, and he's also discounted the Print & PDF option too.

There's also a bundle.

Joe's creature decks are some of the best RPG resources that fit in a pocket that I've come across. The art is top notch and cards are just plain useful. I have them in both OSR and 5e versions myself.

From the blurb:
Today (July 9th 11am US Eastern to July 10th 11am) this is the deal of the day!  But we've also reduced the price of the other 6 5e Creature Decks we've made. (7 Total.) 4 Decks have all the creatures in the official 5th edition System Refence Document of the world's best known role-playing game. The other three decks have more creatures converted from other editions. 
5e Creature Decks (PDFs Only) [BUNDLE of all 7 Decks]
5e Creature Decks (PDFs & Printed Decks) [BUNDLE of all 7 Decks]
5e Creature Decks: Aberrations, Fiends, & More
5e Creature Decks: Beasts, Oozes, & Plants
5e Creature Decks: Constructs, Giants, Humanoids, Undead
5e Creature Decks: Dragons & Monstrosities
5e Creature Decks: More Aberrations & Fiends
5e Creature Decks: More Constructs, Giants, Humanoids, & Undead
5e Creature Decks: More Dragons & Monstrosities 
The cards are a deck of 58 cards (56 creature cards, one cover/checklist card and one license card). Note that one creature (the vampire) is split between two cards because it had a lot of game information. 
The document is a PDF of cards set up to be printed at 2.75"x3.75" and trimmed to 2.5"x3.5". Also included is a second PDF with all the cards on 8.5"x11" pages, 4 cards per page. 
The text on the cards is generally a 9pt font, but some cards have 7pt to 8pt font if the text wouldn't otherwise fit on the card even after shortening the text.  (All meaning/game information was preserved.)

Friday, July 8, 2016

My Muse is in Mourning - No Gaming Related Posts Today

I went to sleep catching a news blurb that 2 Dallas Police Officers were shot. No details.

I woke to the news that 5 Police Officers were dead and another 6 hospitalized with gunshot wounds.

I spent the day watching the news for updates in the futile hope that some sense could be made from this insanity. It hasn't happened.

I feel guilty that I'm retired and the battle is no longer mine and thank God the battle is no longer mine and have yet more guilt again as I worry about the safety of those cops and detectives that were my charges until a few short months ago.

I am proud that my brothers and sisters in Dallas went into danger when right minded civilians fled, officers doing what they swore to do - serve and protect the citizens of this great nation. We run towards gunfire. It is, quite simply, our nature and contrary to what the average citizen would consider common sense.

I mourn the loss of five brave officers, but even more so, I grieve for the families they left behind.

The world is a dangerous place and the wolves are hunting not just the citizens but their protectors as well.

May God bless and keep us all safe.




Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Steven Russell Memorial Fund Has Been Set Up


His sister set up a GoFundMe fund for funeral and other expenses:
Steven Russell, my brother, was killed in an auto accident on July 5, 2016 . There are no words that can express the grief our family is experiencing. My heart breaks for our father,  his wife, my children, his extended family, and his many friends that knew what an amazing man he was. Maybe the most heartbreaking, he was looking forward to welcoming  his first child and being a father himself this winter.  He was a man who loved life and lived it to its fullest. He had the most creative mind, had a passion for gaming and all that it entailed. He loved his family and friends with the same passion.  
Your generous gifts and donations will help with the expenses his family is now faced with. 
Thank you
I'll be leaving this as the only post until tomorrow morning.

Steven Russell, Rite Publishing, Has Passed too Soon



The news of Steven Russell's passing made it's way to me early in the evening yesterday. It took me a few moments to digest the news and even then I didn't want to believe it and needed to confirm it with an actual online new story, which I did.

And I still didn't want to believe it.

I first got to know Steve with his early patronage projects. He was basically doing Kickstarter before Kickstarter was a thing, and he did it well. Communications weren't just top notch, they were personal. I remember bouncing a handful of emails back and forth with Steve while backing one of those early projects, but I'll be damned if I can find them or remember the details. I just remember how it felt to actually talk with a creator of games so freely and easily. It felt good.

When the Kickstarter for Lords of Gossamer & Shadow was in the works we exchanged a few emails. I was excited to see someone take up the threads of the Amber RPG and breath new life into a system that was too important to be forgotten.

And now he's gone.

I regret not knowing the man better than I did and consider myself blessed for the contact we did have.

There will be a gathering in his memory during Gen Con in Indy in August. Wish I could go. Details are on Facebook for those that knew him.


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Tavern Chat Tonight - 9PM Eastern - I May Miss It

I may miss tonight's Tavern Chat, as Rach is working late and I need to pick her up from work and then grab her dinner.

Ah well.

I'm never really needed anyway ;)

Hopefully I'll catch the tail end...

Swords & Wizardry: Light - Sandbox Setting Map - Tweaked and Finalized

Click on the map to see a larger version

So, the idea is that this map will be a 2 page spread in the middle of a 4 page release. It will be released without a grid (but with a distance indicator) with a gridded version of the map available for download. It looks much cleaner without the grid in my humble opinion and if someone wants to use a grid it's easy enough to print.

I tweaked some stuff with the latest revisions to make the labels easier to read. As the overwhelming response was to go "Print" or "Script" (and I agree, it is much easier to read) I did so.

There are three unnamed hamlets and one unnamed tower on the map. I don't expect to name them or describe them at this point. Yep, leaving more stuff in the hands of the GMs. Heh.

There is a ruined city on the coast, a ruined tower over at Far Point, a haunted battlefield, a mad hermit, a wizard's tower, a diseased forest, two indicated dungeon locations in the mountains, five noted population centers, a keep, ruins of an ancient city beyond the mountains and a huge city to the north. And probably about 2 pages to describe it all. The aim will be "hooks" over "details".

I'm figuring the first adventure will take place in the Town of New Velgare. Centrally located and a good starting location for the PCs.

Alright, I need to get back to the Tavern Cards. Many more to fill out and mail out.




Print or Script? Another Map Question


I know - lots of mapping related posts the past day or so.

This time, I'm looking for opinions on the above.

Print or script font?

I like the way the script looks, but I think the print font is clearer.

(for those wondering who "Reed" is, he's a retired adventurer, of course! heh)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

What Mapping Program(s) Do You Use?

As you can see from my earlier posts today, I've been enjoying playing around with Other World Mapper. It simply does what it says it can do and the learning curve is small.

I've tried to use many versions of Campaign Cartographer and it is simply way beyond my ability to understand. It's not that I do poor maps with it, I just can't do ANY maps with it.

Hexographer is great for hex maps. It does what it says it will do. I'm looking for a different look with the map I'm currently toying with, but I'd certainly use Hexographer again.

Those are the ones I have the most experience with.

Of course, this question is asking about outdoor and setting maps, but what do you use for your dungeon maps? I know I can do them with Other World Mapper, but options and ideas are always a great thing.




This MAY Be the Map used for the Swords & Wizardry: Light Sandbox Setting (WIP)


This may wind up being the core map for the Swords & Wizardry: Light Sandbox Setting. If we start the PCs in the town between the lakes and set the hex size to 6 miles across, they have fairly good info on anything in a 25 to 30 mile radius and some general knowledge of locations further out.

It leaves undefined space for each campaign to grow with it's own needs.

Made in about 2 hrs using the Other World Mapper and graphics from the program as well as those purchased from MonkeyBlood Design. Good stuff.

I'll link the map on it's own page at The Tavern when I'm done tweaking ;)


Path of Legends Podcast Episode #5 Has Been Released in the Wild - Your Long Wait is Over ;)


There had been a bit of a hiatus with the Path of Legends podcast, a 5e podcast from the eyes of grognards. We lost one of our hosts due to real life issues and then picked up 2 new hosts for episode #5.

I have to say, I'm pretty surprised and impressed with how well episode #5 went with all of the changes.

Even better? We don't all agree and you can hear it, which I think is great. You don't want a homogenized podcast, you want one with live cultures ;)
We are back with a brand new show! 
Join Vince and Erik as they are joined by two new co-hosts, Steve and Tim! Show topics include: 
Adventure Path – DM ADVICE #1 – Cheating players
Monster Hunters – Goblins
What’s old now is New – Exploring limitations on what races can play a class
Presto’s Hat – Obscure Rules Chart

This is NOT the Swords & Wizardry: Light Setting Map - But it WAS a Great Exercise in What Can Be Done in 90 Minutes with the Right Tool


So, last night I got to thinking that it had been a while since I'd used the Other World Mapper program. Since I plan on making a small sandbox setting for Swords & Wizardry: Light,I opened up OWM and had at it.

The above is after about 90 minutes of tweaking. Far from finished, it did get me thinking about simple "how and whys", such as why the huge canyon, who or what is in the lands that aren't under control of a noble or some such, trade, resources and the like.

Now on to mapping something out in Black & White, as color won't work so well when something is meant to be printed at home.


Monday, July 4, 2016

A WTF Kickstarter - Courts and Castles (Uno meets Risk meets Battleship)


The ranks of The Taverners can be scary, at least when they identify a What The F@CK? Kickstarter, and this one is a class all by itself.

Doesn't the above pic just make you want you to run out and grab a copy of Courts and Castles? No? Why not?

How about 79 pledge levels? No, I didn't count but +Rick Hull did.

79 pledge levels, and not one actually gets you a copy of the game.

So, what is the game about?


I have no idea what was held back. I couldn't justify reading the 19 paragraphs that followed. He says he simplified it from an earlier version, so it's complex but not head scratching. I have my doubts.

Name a serf for a buck or a city-state for $150, you still don't get a copy of the game. Which is probably best.

I'm still stuck on 79 pledge levels. I don't even know if the limited pledges (as each pledge level is limited) would allow the goal of $3,690 to be met. God only knows I'm not doing that math...


Lesser Gnome Death & Taxes Collector's Set Snags Two ENNies Nominations

A HUGE congrats to our very own +Zach Glazar for grabbing 2 ENNies Award Nominations for this year's awards with his / Lesser Gnomes Games Death & Taxes Collector's Set release.

Best Miniature Product and Best Production Values. When Frog God picked up Zach, they leveld up :)

+Timothy Brannan also grabbed a nomination for his The Otherside Blog. Alas, The Tavern is always a bridesmaid, never a bride ;)

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Thoughts on a Swords & Wizardry: Light Sandbox Setting and More

I think 4 pages is the key to Swords & Wizardry: Light releases. It's forces one to make sure everything is nice and compact and a single sheet is all you need to print.

Needless to say, I'm now thinking of a sandbox setting for S&W: Light. Perhaps 8 5 miles hexes E/W by 10 5 miles hexes N/S.

A sentence or two highlighting each hex. 3 or 4 paragraphs giving an overview of the area in general.

Now, obviously there would be dangers where 3rd level characters just shouldn't be poking around. Which brings us to the next topic of discussion.

There have been a number of inquiries as to whether or not to allow characters to advance under the light rules instead of moving on to one of the fuller S&W rulesets. I do appreciate that lighter is often better for some, some I'm toying with the idea of an "Extra Light" release, adding advancement and monsters for characters of up to 7th level.

So, we are looking at the following releases:

Swords & Wizardry: Light ruleset

Swords & Wizardry: Light Intro Adventure

Swords & Wizardry: Light - Deadly Machination - tables, charts, additional rules and DM advice

and possibly:

Swords & Wizardry: Light - Adventure Sandbox

Swords & Wizardry: "Extra" Ligt - Advancement to level 7

All 4 page releases.

Give me your thoughts :)